March 4, 1968

The Therapeutic Management of Psychological Illness: The Theory and Practice of Supportive Care

Author Affiliations

Portland, Ore


by Werner M. Mendel and Gerald Allen Green, 255 pp, $6.95, New York and London: Basic Books, Inc., 1967.

JAMA. 1968;203(10):897. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140100079036

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After paying their respects to our heritage, psychoanalytic theory, the authors of this eminently practical book proceed to outline a pragmatic treatment program "emphasizing activity, reality, and structure" in the best tradition of a behaviorally oriented approach which deals with problem behavior in its full social matrix. The authors define psychological "illness" as simply the "behavior of a person identified as a patient." In another place they see "illness" as a "state of impairment of function"—without regard for who might define the impairment. The non-forward, constricting, or inappropriate behavior, as defined by the ill person or others around him, then becomes the "illness." With this definition, a change in the behavior becomes the remedy, a position the authors espouse operationally in the sections on practice, despite their earlier theoretical statements.

Mendel and Green view hospitalization as an active treatment process. Because it, like many other strong treatments, has untoward side